Camping World Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis reaffirmed his company’s commitment to NASCAR despite not agreeing with Brian France’s decision to endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a Georgia rally on Monday.
Lemonis, whose company has served as title sponsor of NASCAR’s Truck Series since 2009, tweeted shortly after France’s endorsement: “There is no place for politics/any political endorsements in any business. Your customers and employees should have their own mind. #period’’
This follows a letter Lemonis wrote to NASCAR last year that led the sanctioning body to move the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series banquet from the Trump National Doral after comments Trump made about immigrants.
Lemonis told Sports Business Daily on Tuesday that he has no plans to seek an early exit from his company’s Truck series sponsorship. The company signed a seven-year extension in 2014 that will take it through 2022.
“I am not going to give Brian France the credit for him to think that him crossing the line that I just defined is going to affect our support of a sport that has tons of fans and teams,’’ Lemonis told Sports Business Daily.
“I’m not going to give him the credit that his crossing that line would warrant us picking a side, when at the end of the day, our allegiance is to the sport, which is much bigger than Brian France, and the teams and drivers, which is much bigger than Brian France, and to the fans who love the sport, which clearly is much bigger than Brian France.
“Brian France is not NASCAR. NASCAR is made up of the millions of fans who have their own views of the favorite sports teams, drivers, politicians and religion.”
Lemonis said he disagrees with France’s endorsement of Trump because of France’s executive position.
“When you control a business, it is very difficult to make sure that the lines don’t get blurry,’’ said Lemonis, who stars in “The Profit” on CNBC and will debut “The Partner” this summer on the network.
“And you work for constituencies. The two constituencies you work for are your customers and employees. It is not your right to leverage your ability to speak; it’s not your right to leverage the power of access that you have.
“If you run a business or own a business, you have a different sort of access than the rest of the community. I’m not in favor of business owners or CEOs leveraging their disproportionate access to communicate a message that is polarizing or maybe takes away someone’s individual thoughts or impugns your personal opinion on somebody.”
Last year, Lemonis’ told NASCAR that he would not attend the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series banquet if it was still held at a Trump property.
Lemonis, who is from Lebanon, was upset with comments by Trump on the campaign trail last summer and wrote NASCAR: “ … due to recent and ongoing blatantly bigoted and racist comments from Donald Trump in regards to immigrants of the United States, I would like to inform you that I will not, nor will any representative of Camping World, participate or attend in the ceremonial event if it is held at any Trump property.
“Our company will not stand to support any person or organization that associates with such beliefs and we feel strongly about distancing ourselves from any negative and discriminatory comments made against any gender, ethnicity, age group or so forth. I would hope that the entire NASCAR organization would agree with my sentiments.’’